Quy/Fenland Country Fair & Country Covers

Today I have been at Fenland Country Fair held at Stow-Cum-Quy near Cambridge.  You can read about the event at the link provided.

The reason I am writing about this event is because Country Covers the civilian partner of Arktis were there and as I already use some of there equipment and now have a couple of new items to try out on my next trip to Lapland, I thought I would give them a mention and recommend them to you.

I have their A190 Stowaway Shirt (about 3/4’s of the way down the page) which is designed to be wind and water resistant and helps to trap heat.  It weighs 150g packs down incredibly small and fits in your pocket.  I carry one with me every day.

P1030596 (Small)

I have one of their A110 Field Shirts in olive to try out.  It is designed to permit superior ventilation and the outer fabric is robust, resilient and hard wearing, featuring; 2 large front zipped pockets, 2 front button pockets, tabbed buttons for extra strength, vented back with mesh lining and fully adjustable cuffs.

Field shirt (Small)

I also have a D190 Antarctic Shirt (about 3/4’s of the way down the page).  It’s made of 70% Merino wool and treated to prevent irritation to your skin.  It features, a long tail for maximum heat retention, thumb cuff hand warmers and zipped rollover collar.

Antarctic shirt (Small)

Useful kit does not have to be expensive

In several of my posts I have referred to and you will have seen two pieces of material that I carry with me.  One piece is a 220 x 160cm  sheet of Pertex and the other a piece of rip-stop nylon sewn into a tube which is open at both ends and 230cm long.  They are both treated with Nikwax, pack down very small and only weigh 400 grams.

P1020616 (816 x 612) (Medium)

and together with a small bag of cord, meet many of my needs.

The tube I can use as a “mattress” for a pole bed, by sliding two long poles into it (I can stuff the tube with grass for insulation)

P1000740 (816 x 612) (Medium)

P1000798 (816 x 612) (Small)

I can tie one end and fill it with leaves or grass as a mattress on the ground or put my equipment in it and tie it around me as a pack

P1020888 (816 x 612) (Small)

I can attach cords at each end to make a simple hammock

P1020885 (816 x 612) (Small)

or fold it, tie a knot each end and add long pieces of cord to tie to a tree branch and make a seat.

P1020843 (816 x 612) (Small)

I can also get into it and pull it up to my shoulders for warmth and protection from the rain (I wrap the Pertex sheet around my head and shoulders for protection)

P1020613 (816 x 612) (Medium)

I used them both for this purpose on several occasions during my last Lapland trip.

The Pertex sheet I tend to use mainly as a tarp for shelter

P1020585 (760 x 531) (Medium)

I have no lashing points but instead use a stone or similar with a piece of cord

tarp fastener (Large)

I place the stone under a corner of the material, wrap the material around it and then secure the cord around the stone

tarp fastener-2 (Large)

You can see how I use them here

lunchtime camp (576 x 432)

If anyone knows where I can buy this type of material in larger sizes than 230 x 160cm please let me know.

Birding and bushcraft

Last Friday I headed off to the British Birdwatching Fair which is a three day event held annually at Rutland Water Nature Reserve.

british bird fair (Large)

I was there to make contact with nature tourism companies who are, or who are considering running tours in Northern Sweden.

After a day at the bird fair I travelled down to Danemead Scout Campsite to spend a couple of days with my friend Stuart, relaxing in the woods. The dappled sunlight through the trees provided us with some beautiful views in the early morning.

danemead 22-8 6 (Small)

I spent some time teaching Stuart methods of firelighting without matches and some tinders to use and he helped me refresh my navigation skills, but most of our time was spent around the fire

danemead 22-8 1 (Small)

chatting, drinking and eating.  Here I am making sausage stew

danemead 22-8 2 (Small)

The handles of the crusader cup can get hot when the cup is being used in a large fire so I worked on developing a simple tool for removing the cup when the handle is hot. I cut a piece of Hazel with a branch stub at one end. I thinned down the Hazel at this point

danemead 22-8 3 (Medium)

to fit between the gap in the handles and the branch stub hooks below the handle as you can see below

danemead 22-8 4 (Medium)

You can place the cup in position and then unhook and remove the handle until you want to remove it from the fire

danemead 22-8 5 (Small)

Fruit leather

I found a large number of Crab Apples on the ground and decided to try and make use of them.

fruit leather-1 (Small)

I placed them in boiling water for five minutes and then pushed them through a fine sieve to remove the peel and pips.  Then I did the same with some Blackberries but boiled them for a little longer.  I mixed the two together with a little honey and spread the mix about 1cm thick on grease-proof paper in a shallow baking tray.

I placed the baking tray on an oven shelf on top of my woodburning stove and placed a roasting tin on top to trap the heat while allowing air to circulate.

fruit leather.2 (Medium)

I only put a small amount of wood in the woodburner and left it to burn for 10 hours.

The fruit had reduced in size and thickness and was dry to touch but not brittle (it could be rolled up).

I cut it into strips to carry with me and it should last for several months in a cool dry place.

fruit leather.3 (Small)

Cooking Roe Deer in the ground – Part 2

Nettles were added until a thick layer covered the embers

cooking roe deer-8 (Medium)

Then the meat was placed on to the nettles

cooking roe deer-9 (Small)

Another thick layer of nettles was placed on the meat and then a fire built on top

cooking roe deer-10 (Small)

After four and a half hours the fire had burnt down to embers and ash

cooking roe deer-11 (Small)

and so I decided to scrape away the top layer of ash and remaining nettles to remove the meat

cooking roe deer-12 (Medium)

Now I like my meat pink and a little bloody but for some it was not cooked enough and to be honest I think I should have cooked it for another hour

cooking roe deer-13 (Small)

but for those who liked their meat cooked more we put a leg in the oven to finish it.

It’s such a simple cooking method with no need to find suitable rocks to heat and I will certainly be doing it again.  And everyone was happy with the end result!

cooking roe deer-14 (Medium)

Cooking Roe Deer in the ground – Part 1

Following the success of the pit cooking of Roe Deer and Wild Boar during the primitive skills course at the beginning of May, a friend asked me to cook a Roe deer in a pit for his party.

cooking roe deer-1 (Medium)

I jointed the meat

cooking roe deer-2 (Medium)

while friends gathered stinging nettles to protect the meat

cooking roe deer-3 (Small)

Chris had dug a hole in his garden in which to cook the deer and my next task was to make a fire

cooking roe deer-4 (Small)

I continued to add wood for a couple of hours

cooking roe deer-5 (Medium)

until I had achieved a good bed of embers

cooking roe deer-6 (Small)

Having achieved a good bed of embers I covered them with a thick layer of nettles

cooking roe deer-7

Buffalo horn ring

I had some pieces of buffalo horn left over after making my knife handle, so decided to make a ring for my finger.

I experimented with both flint and my knife blade to work the horn into a ring. The piece on the right of the picture is how the horn looked when I started.


To decorate the ring I etched my first name in Morse Code, filled the etchings with fine talcum powder and applied a coat of oil.